Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shattered Bones, Beautiful Legacy

While out admiring the leaves this week, I stumbled on this amazing structure. I know some of you are looking at this "wreck" and thinking A. Sad B. Ruin C. Tear it Down or D. All of the Above, but I see a shattered beauty that gave her all for her family. 

Look at her. Against all odds, she still stands. She won't forever, but I have a wonderful story to share with you. 

I pulled to the side of the rural road outside my hometown and slung my camera across my shoulder. Snapping away, I pulled the camera from my eye to find a man walking toward me. Startled, I remembered to smile and say hello. "She's a beauty," I told him. 

"Yep. I learned to milk a cow by hand in Grandpa's barn." He obviously loved this barn. "I offered to pay for a new roof years ago, but Dad said no. It wasn't worth it, but now I wish I had pushed harder." His eyes twinkled. 

"You want to know what I see when I look at her?" I asked. "I see crisp, early mornings of your family warming their hands in the breath of a cow. I see hot summer afternoons, rushing to finish the milking before showering and heading out on your first date. I see art that can't be purchased. It must been nurtured, slowly."

He looked away. "I get people stopping here all the time. They all want to take a piece. You can't imagine how many people think of this as their barn."

"I'm not one of those people. I would never muddy your sacred space, but I want to take its image with me, to cherish when one day it's gone."

He nodded, and I snapped another photo. 

"How old is it?" I asked.

"Grandpa built it in 1941."

That seemed young to me, but he continued. 

"He couldn't get his hands on all the steel he needed. The war, you know. It had to come first. If they had only had more rebar, the foundation wouldn't have given out. The rock part of the foundation is still standing strong, but the cement crumbled, and well ... "

The hair on my arm stood up. I knew that if it had been built at any other time, a time without the rationing of World War II, it would still be standing strong. This man's grandfather gave to the war in an invisible way. "I sensed it was special, but thank you for sharing that with me. It's an incredible story." I took one more photo and said goodbye. I hope it wasn't for the last time. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Blaze of Glory

I'm human, although I often wish I wasn't. Can't you see me as a dragon? Back away from the flame, Rebecca. Anyway, Autumn in Wisconsin is glorious this year, but it always a reminder of the deep freeze to come. (I'm so not looking forward to winter) However, this year autumn has been spectacular. 

Some year, the gush of golden glory comes and goes in a single week, but 2015 has seen a protracted autumn. I can't stop driving around to ogle.  

It's not all about the trees. It's often the details that catch my eye. 

There's symmetry in a milkweed pod that is there ... if you look for it. 

But my favorites are trees that slowly start one color only to soften into something darker, richer, more ... autumnal. 

Enjoy the season wherever you live. Here in Wisconsin the sweet smell of summer flowers is already a distant memory, but I'm relishing the final fireworks before the world turns gray and white.